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  • Writer's pictureRev. Kim Taylor

Pastor's Ponderings: Meandering through Mark 10:28-31 bible study (June 4, 2024)

June 4, 2024:  Tuesday Bible Study on the Gospel of Mark 10:28-31

May the Love of God surround you today!

Thank you for joining me this morning. Every day is a busy day for us in this life. Whether we are young, or our minds just tell us that we must still be young (seniors), we seem to find all that we must do every day as a great busyness. I can only imagine how Christ's disciples must have felt as the Master keep them busy nearly 24/7. But like us, they found reserves of energy in the presence of Jesus. I know that if we were not still parents of an active group of sons in our home, that it would be a bit easier to get everything done. Yesterday, I prepared a very nice 11-pound turkey with dressing, and Melody made wonderful Yukon Gold mashed potatoes, asparagus and broccoli.  In the midst of that one of our sons needed a half hour ride one way to the movies to meet a friend, of course, just about the time the turkey had to be in the oven, and then for pickup about the time that the turkey was to come out of the oven.  As usual we are so thankful that our sons are willing and able to do the heavy lifting like getting that meal out of the oven. The food was delicious, then this morning, there were all of the pans and serving utensils that needed to be scrubbed. That is my job after every meal. I usually do them in the morning. So now I am back to my thoughts about Jesus and His disciples, and how they must have been thinking about what Jesus said in the passage from yesterday. And who would be more likely to open his mouth after considering that he, and the other disciples had indeed given up just about everything to follow Jesus during His ministry and outreach with God's healing touch, and His powerful Truth, and, like Christ, to live under the threats from leaders who were full of the things that the world offers for those who are powerful in this life, and who were unwilling to open their hearts to God's answer for the sins of all of humankind.

There are three things that Jesus emphasizes in this short passage. This is another of those passages which is filled with Christ's truths for all time.

1.  Once again Jesus tells His disciples, and us, that there is no one who has sacrificed for the Christ of God during their life, that will find that the leaving behind of the world's temptations, will find the believer's life filled with love and hospitality where ever they go.  Paul certainly knew that in his journeys for Christ to bring the new Church to the people of Asia minor and Rome. Yes, in some places Paul suffered abuse at the hands of people who were just like the leaders in Israel, yet wherever there were believers, Paul was warmly welcomed, and provided food and shelter, and a new family in those communities. In many ways Melody and I chose a similar path when we answered American's call to me to serve the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and we found a new home, a new family, many friends, as well as receiving the prayers every day of our faithful brothers and sisters in Christ.  I know that our families found it hard that we chose to leave them behind to enter into the unknown life that would be ours so many miles away from them. I think that you cannot ever know the joy of the new life that covers a pastor's family with such joy in the faith of a new family in a church until you yourself enter into the journey that pastors and their families take as they trust God to provide what they will need for the Kingdom's work in a new home where the Gospel is to be served.

2. Jesus clearly tells the disciples that one’s sacrifice for Him shall be filled with persecutions as well. No one should expect a material reward for their sacrifices of worldly material things. No call to serve the Gospel is filled with only wonderful, good things. Every parish call has its troubles and difficulties. Jesus never tried to cover up the fact that His believers would not have the easiest of times in their ministries. Following Christ would be costly. American Lutheran is a wonderful call setting, yet to continue to fill the pastorate of this congregation has indeed been costly for us in ways that only a few people who are members of the congregation know or understand. I don't need to speak to that here, nor will I address it if you ask, but you need to know that the Spirit has made it clear to me that American Lutheran is where I need to be, and where I can best serve the Gospel, with Christ's faithful, and those who will be, because they have found the love of Christ in this congregation.   Jesus never promised that there would be a balance sheet based on our earnings through Christian living and acting. Instead, the reward is based on the goodness of the Savior, and His forgiveness  of our sins, and will come for all who are faithful in Christ who is our merit when we stand before the Judge of all things, who, in Christ, will find us righteous, even when we know that we have sinned.

3.  "The first shall be last, and the last shall be first" in His Kingdom. Peter was probably mulling over in his own mind how his own primacy was going to give him a leg up in the Kingdom of God.  It is so easy to believe that if we are in a position to wield power, that somehow makes us superior to others. Here is Christ's warning. Over my years at American, I have been approached to enter into new call interviews in some other churches. All were larger than American by thousands of members, and a call to any one of them would certainly have been a step up in the power framework of the Church. I did not interview, because the Spirit's presence in my life has continued to make it clear that I am to stay at American for the rest of my active ministry years. Christ's warning for Peter was against being filled with pride. We all know pastors who have lost their humility in Christ, and instead, have started moving through the power structure of the Church by entering into pastorates of increasingly influential congregations. Though those same opportunities were there for me, I have instead followed the Spirit's guidance and found joy in serving the Gospel of justice, kindness, and love in the midst of my current call with all of you.

Thanks for letting me share with you today.

With Christ Love, Pastor Kim

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